Red Bull Racing F1 team must prove safety after David Coulthard suffers crash

Friday, March 21, 2008

David Coulthard in 2007
Image: Mathieu Felten.

The Red Bull Racing Formula One racing team must prove to the Malaysian Grand Prix stewards that one of their cars is safe to race after Scottish driver David Coulthard suffered a crash at Friday's opening practice. It was his second major suspension failure in as many weekends and his third major accident, having had his last race ended prematurely after a collision with Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

A part failure caused Coulthard to run off the road. When he subsequently hit a kerb both sides of the front suspension completely failed, ripping both wheels loose. He was unable to participate in any more pre-race practice.

After stewards met team head Christian Horner and technical head Adrian Newey a statement was released stating that the FIA technical delegate required to receive a detailed technical report from Red Bull. The purpose of this would be to prove that the vehicle is race worthy as determined by an article in the technical regulations. This article gives stewards the powers to prevent cars from competing if they are deemed to be unsafe.

"The Stewards, having met with the Team Principal and Technical Representative of Red Bull Racing in relation to the incident involving Car 9 in Practice 1, have requested that the competitor provide to the FIA Technical Delegate a report verifying that the integrity of the suspension is such that the car should not be deemed 'of dangerous constructions' under Art 2.3 of the 2008 Formula One Technical Regulations," read the statement.

David Coulthard racing in Indianapolis, 2007
Image: jwunrow.

Howard told reporters he believed there would be no problems with clearing the vehicle for tomorrows race. The failed component, he said, had been fitted immediately after the race at Melbourne. "It was a front right track rod that failed. You can see that the adhesives failed and it just looked like a human error. So we have absolutely no concerns about the car's safety for tomorrow."

Coulthard was also confident. I am not worried about my safety. Mechanical failures are part and parcel of grand prix racing unfortunately... We did 10,000 kilometres in testing in the car. It was just a new part which did just six laps. It was a fault in the manufacturing process and game over. One jumbo falls out of the sky you don't ground them. All history shows that things fail now and again. With the front suspension the car rides up."